Johnathan Motley was the best player for a Baylor team that finished with a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. He nearly averaged a double-double along the way.
Nevada’s Cameron Oliver was one of the more versatile players in the draft, as the 6’8″ big man could score (16.0 points), rebound (8.7 boards) and shoot the three (38.4 percent from downtown).
And Notre Dame’s V.J. Beachem looked like one of the better players in Division I at times, such as when he poured in 30 points against Syracuse.
This draft may end up being known as one of the deepest in league history but don’t be surprised to see some undrafted players have long NBA careers.
Here’s a look at this year’s draft board alongside some news and analysis regarding three players.
NBA Draft Board
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Arizona guard Kobi Simmons is headed to Memphis:
Simmons didn’t have a great year in Tucson, as he shot just 39.5 percent from the field en route to averaging 8.7 points per game.
As Jay Bilas of ESPN noted (h/t Adam Zagoria), the 19-year-old likely should have stayed in college in order to improve his draft stock:
ESPN 100 listed Simmons as a five-star prospect ranked No. 20 in the class of 2016, ahead of players such as Zach Collins (drafted 10th by the Portland Trail Blazers this season) and Texas A&M big man Robert Williams (who is being mocked at No. 5 in the 2018 draft by NBADraft.net).
Simmons clearly has a lot of potential—it’s just a matter of him realizing it.
Expect Memphis to send him to the G-League to continue developing his game. Within two seasons, he’ll be on an NBA roster.
Derrick Walton Jr.
Per Brendan F. Quinn of the MLive Media Group, Derrick Walton Jr., a senior guard for the Michigan Wolverines, will be getting a shot with the Orlando Magic:
Walton, who averaged 15.5 points and 5.0 assists last season, led the Michigan Wolverines on one of the most memorable postseason runs in recent men’s college basketball history.
After a frightening plane accident prior to leaving for the Big Ten tournament, the Wolverines went on a tear, winning four games and defeating Wisconsin for the Big Ten championship.
Then, the Wolverines beat Oklahoma State and upset Louisville before losing to Oregon by just one point.
Walton is a bit undersized for the point guard position at 6’0″, but he makes up for that with the way he plays the game. Simply put, he is a tough, savvy floor general capable of leading the team on the next level.
The prediction here is that the 22-year-old becomes a Summer League star and slots in as the backup point guard to Elfrid Payton before the end of the 2017-18 season.
Beachem landed in a great spot, as David Aldridge of TNT reported that the former Notre Dame star will be heading to Minnesota, which looks like a Western Conference contender after acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls:
The 6’8″ forward averaged 14.5 points per game last year, but his issue was inconsistency. At times, Beachem looked great; other times, he disappeared. Most notably, he scored just 11 total points in Notre Dame’s two NCAA tournament games.
Still, the 22-year-old has a unique opportunity with the Wolves. A roster spot may be there for the taking, as Minnesota has a stacked starting five but needs more depth at guard and wing.
If Beachem can return to his junior-year form, when he shot 47.6 percent overall and 44.4 percent from three-point range, he could have a spot on the back end of the roster.
The guess here is that Beachem has a good preseason and ends up taking on a role as a backup small forward for the T-Wolves.
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